East County Sports


Mount Miguel against Mission Hills late in the game on Monday.


By Dave Dickens


ESCONDIDO (2-26-2019) – The Mount Miguel Lady Matadors made an early exit in the SDS-CIF playoffs, however, they still had a typical Lady Matador season.

Once again, as they did last year, it was another matchup against the all too familiar San Diego foe, the Mission Hills Grizzlies.

This time around, meeting in the first round of the CIF State Division I SoCal regional playoffs on a Tuesday evening.

The reasonable journey was more than likely just the ingredient to defeat the hungry Grizzlies, as Mount Miguel would outlast their challenger, 49-48, which included plenty of drama-filled officiating to entertain the fans for both sides.

The Matadors (24-6) led 30-20 at halftime as TIAJA (YAYA) BENNETT scored seven points in the second quarter. Bennett also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

“I felt like we played together as a team,” Bennett said. “We came out with energy and never got down on ourselves even when the game was close. We all contributed in ways we were best at, coming out on top.”

The Grizzlies had the ball on their own baseline for an inbounds play with .07 seconds left.

A high pass was deflected by a pair of Matadors, and a shot off the loose ball was too high off the glass, completely missing the net.

Sophomore SYLENA PETERSON led Mount Miguel with 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers and four assists, in addition to grabbing five boards.

“It was fun to play tonight as well as stressful,” Peterson said. “I’d say this game was a competitive one we haven’t had in a while, but moving forward, we know what we need to improve on for our next state playoff game.”

Senior Lady Matador CITALLI ( Lalli ) GURROLA had four three-point field goals, including two in the first quarter as Mount Miguel led 15-4 after the initial eight minutes.

“We came in as underdogs,” Gurrola said. “During the first half , we had a 19 point lead. We were doing great.”

The Lady Matadors went cold in the fourth quarter except for a three-pointer from Gurrola, as Mount Miguel’s only points of the quarter became critical.

Senior MICHELLE CORLEY, soon to be at Arizona Western, added 11 points, including three three-pointers, for her squad, and added three assists to boot.

“We were up 23-4,” Corley said. “I was starting to expect the game to be closer. I knew it would be closer at the end due to knowing they are a good team. I don’t think anyone of us stood out, we played as a team from the beginning to the end.”

The Matadors finished with 11 three-pointers and yet only four two-point field goals.

“We were doing great until the fourth quarter,” Gurrola said. “We had many turnovers, but fortunately for us, Mission Hills wasn’t making most of their shots, which assisted us in winning the game.

“We have game film our next opponent. They are a beatable team. All we need to do in order to win is play Matador basketball with high intensity just like we always do, in doing so we should dominate this game.”

The Lady Matadors will travel to face Troy High School (23-9), up near Fullerton to compete in the second round of the state regional playoffs, the only East County hoop team for the girls that remains alive in a very winnable contest on Thursday the 28th at Troy High School at 7 p.m.

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